As many of you know, I am a group fitness instructor, but I also love to lift heavy. Once upon a time I took ballet and my director is asking me to brush up on my ballet skills. My problem is that I lack muscular endurance in my upper body. Does anyone have any suggestions to build that up while still getting my lifting in? Thanks!
Hi Wendy. One exercise that I use a lot with the female athletes I train is the upper body ergometer. This piece of equipment is excellent for building strength and endurance in the upper body, and I use it often with swimmers, throwers, strikers etc. Not knowing your particular health situation, I can’t recommend this for you, but I can say that it works well for building shoulder and back strength, as well as some work on your arms. You can vary the intensity of your exercise with this piece of equipment by performing fast intervals, or by doing longer endurance type training.
I hope this helps.
If you have no medical restrictions at the moment, really like weight lifting and are trying to build endurance you can try kettlebell training. A qualtiy and dynamic kettlebell routine will strong, dense, lean muscle that can go forever and actually increase flexibility. Just make sure the weight of the bell is appropriate and not too heavy.
One of the suggestions that I would make is to look into undulating periodization. The basic concept behind periodization is to progress through a series of training cycles. Typically, you would focus on hypertrophy and muscular endurance in one cycle, then strength, and then power. So the heavy lifting is traditionally done towards the end of a program.
With undulating periodization, you vary the focus every session. For example, a Monday weights workout could be focused on hypertrophy and 8-10 reps per exercise with a moderate resistance. Wednesday could be strength based, with rep ranges from 3-6. Friday could be a power day, with ranges from 1-3 or 3-5 reps. For muscular endurance, you could do a lifting day where your rep ranges are all >12.
Undulating periodization is a great way to train your muscles for a variety of goals without losing progress in one area. It lets you lift heavy while also maintaining some endurance and training for some size. A quick Google search may point you in the right direction.
Hope this helps,
Devin Gray, CSCS